Google Wave in Design and Process Collaboration

Picture 40In the past, I had chance to write about Google Wave (GW). Lots of interest coming around everything related to Google Wave. You can read some of my previous posts about Google Wave to get up to speed with my way to think about Google Wave.

Google Wave – Is it the Next Collaborative Process Engine for PLM?
6 reasons Why Google Wave will Change PLM Collaboration

So, the following interesting project from SAP drove my attention during the weekend, so I decided to share my thoughts about SAP Gravity project. However, before, take a look on video produced by SAP.

From the earlier beginning of Google Wave, it was clear that we could expect an impact of Google Wave on the enterprise software world. Despite the fact enterprises are using a big amount of unique and valuable enterprise systems, all of them are heavily relying on email to collaborate. Therefore, GW offering updated email collaboration paradigm will become an attractive guest in enterprise eco-system.

You can read more about Google Wave SAP Web 2.0 Blog.

So, what are my thoughts about Google Wave in the context of SAP demo project? I have to say that I’m experimenting with Google Wave too and my thoughts, of course, affected by my own experience with Google Wave.

1. Collaboration between the unstructured communication world and structured business process definition is notable
2. Google Wave integration capabilities
3. Very powerful history representation
3. There is a huge potential for additional developments – Gadgets and Robots

1. Keep of track of all your Waves is as complicated as emails- no big surprise in this space.
2. The way Google Wave will manage store of integrated information is not clear (i.e. BPMN for SAP Gravity, but future thinking about 3D models etc.)
3. Wave to Wave merges and communication can create additional complexity.

What is the future perspective for Google Wave in PLM space in my view? The most perspective direction is collaboration around 3D and other design-related situational collaboration. This is space that today occupied by mail. This is not an empty space – innovative products like 3DLive as well as other CAD / Viewers -related products are also targeting this space. However, I see a potential to embed live 3D model or drawing into Wave and provide an ability to participants to collaborate, similar to how BPMN process was created by SAP Gravity.

I would be interested to hear your opinion and thoughts.
Best, Oleg


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  • Francois

    Hello Oleg

    Yes you are right, google wave may provide new ideas to enterprise application user communities. The question is, for PLM, for which usage?
    I do not think the first usage will be with CAD data, because CAD software are deskstop software for years, meaning designed for one user. It may happen in the future, and Vuch or things like that one may be running upfront in that direction.
    I think that the example with SAP workflows is a not surprise as a first try to mix GW and an enterprise app. Why? GW is a collaboration tool. Collaboration is by nature bringing several people working together, GW simply bring the ability to several people to work together at the same time. In the PLM context, I see that approval workflows may be the first thing to be enhanced by GW. Why?
    – many users would like to be able to approve a document or a change from an iphone while others users explain why the change has to be approved.
    – many users are late or miss the approval meeting, GW bring a strong replay feedback
    – current PLM apps are too complex to be used by some category of users, and I hope that GW may be simpler.

    The last question for me is: how to maintain a GW application, embedding a certain amount of gadgets from different sources, having their own release cycle? Would it be easier for corporate IT deps, compared to current technologies? Not so sure?

  • Francois, thanks for your comment. Workflow approval can be interesting case, I agree. In addition, everything you mentioned related to deployment and maintenance of GW components (gadgets, robots etc.) is important, but unclear for me for the moment. Best, Oleg

  • I think the first impact to PLM will not really be PLM specific. Its the collaboration capability. There are still some bumps in the road like companies’ need for security or desire to use a Microsoft solution but the value is there.

    I think the second impact is what you touched on with gadgets and robots. Here you can be PLM specific and they are much easier to create than I expected. I’m looking forward to seeing a few show up.

  • Manuel Joseph

    Not everbody works within a single region. A group is now “people across continents”. On a design/ADM/PDM/PLM perspective, GW will help in PDM/PLM side, but not on design/ADM side, since the design cycle is spread across different regions, with different timeframe. Mr.X will be sleeping in Asia, while Mr.Y (NA)needs immediate answers to get a design resolved. GW is not gonna wake Mr.X up.
    But, GW concept works a charm for groups within a single region on same timezone and its integration to CAD will be a challenge.
    As in 3DLive, I could image, designers collaborating LIVE CHAT SESSION (with 3D mouse click –>New Wave )
    and closing up queries.
    One day am sure, cost of product will be low.

    My thoughts. Comments?

  • Mark, I think “collaboration” is very speculated term in PLM-context. However, I agree – people will come to GW to co-work together better than in mail. I’d expect SharePoint vs. GoogleWave comparison here.
    On the other side, Gadgets, will be way to connect today’s PLM content to GW collaborative environment. The similar process, btw, happened with SharePoint.
    Thanks for your comments! Best, Oleg

  • Manuel, For me GW make sense in asynchronous communication too. This is not about how to wake Mr.X up- this is about how to make a conversation with reasonable history record (something really missing in most of design collaboration systems today). Peeps are continue to mail… Best, Oleg